BASEBALL: Bombs away! Bost, Roccaforte launch homers in Indians’ win at Porter

Published 9:10 pm Thursday, May 3, 2018

PORTER — Austin Bost’s leadoff home run might have indicated what was to come for Port Neches-Groves — another home run.

Carson Roccaforte broken open a two-run lead with a three-run shot in the fifth inning, and the Indians began their chase for a second straight 5A state baseball championship Thursday with a 6-1 win over Porter. Game 2 of the best-of-three bi-district series is at 7 p.m. Friday in Port Neches.

“It’s a great way to open up the playoffs, going on the road and getting a win,” Indians coach Scott Carter said. “Porter’s a really good baseball team. They’re fundamentally sound, and they made no errors.”

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PNG improved to 19-9-3 on the season.

The two home runs gave senior left-hander Brandon Petix plenty of run support in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out one, but held Porter to no earned runs (one unearned) on six hits.

“I think I need to throw more strikes,” he said. “That’s the main thing. I had a lot of help from my fielding. That was great.”

Roccaforte, whose two-run double in the seventh allowed PNG to knock out Tomball in last year’s 5A Region III semifinals as a freshman, batted in four runs Thursday.

Like in last year’s season-saving hit, Roccafore faced a 1-2 pitch count.

“It was a two-strike curveball. I just tried to put something on the plate, anything I can to help the team get a win,” Roccaforte said.

Jamison Simmons took over for Petix and gave up Zane Russell’s third hit, but induced a game-ending double play.

Bost faced a full-count pitch when he launched his solo shot over left field to lead off the game. Porter (21-10-1), the third seed in District 21-5A, evened the game at 1-1 in the second when Russell, who reached on a throwing error, scored on a Brent Sipe single, the first of two that inning for the Spartans.

But Porter never took the lead in the game.

Nine-hole hitter Camron Abate singled to lead off the third, stole a base and scored on a Drake Varnado single. Roccaforte hit a sacrifice grounder to score Bost’s second of three runs.

Petix got himself out of plenty of trouble all game, leaving eight of 11 stranded Porter runners in scoring position. Garrett Miertschin singled in the fourth but was thrown out on a relay throw to second from left field for the second out.

Petix and Roccaforte helped the Indians take advantage in the fifth.

Petix singled and Bost walked before the second out, which brought up Roccaforte’s three-run swat.

“Right now, we’re just seeing the baseball very well,” Carter said. “We’ve got several guys in our lineup who are hitting. The three-run home run was big, but a lot of guys came up with some big base hits when we needed to, to be there for him.”

Khristian Curtis went 2 for 3 and Holden Lane singled for PNG.

Patrick Hine scattered eight hits and struck out two, both in the fourth inning, over a complete game for Porter. Miertschin had two singles, and Tayler Baker and Max Dias each had a hit as well.

If Porter wins Game 2, Game 3 will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, with the winner to play Santa Fe or Houston Furr.

“I think this win gives us a lot of confidence and gets us moving forward in the playoffs,” Petix said.

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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